Posted by: SoccerGirl | December 18, 2011

The tale of a bridge, a buffalo, and a biker bar

Soon you will find out what the three things in the title have to do with our latest garattage visit, but as Julie Andrews sang “Let’s start at the very beginning”.

We celebrated our second anniversary of moving in to the garattage over Thanksgiving weekend, and our third Thanksgiving dinner.  We were all so thankful that we have this amazing place to go to, especially when the weather is as perfect as it was that weekend.  Even though it was the end of November in the mountains it felt like early fall, with temperatures warm enough in the day time to be comfortable without a coat and cold enough at night to snuggle inside under warm blankets.  We all arrived on Wednesday so we could enjoy three full days of mountain time before heading back home on Sunday.  We decided to make this an easy Thanksgiving and limit the amount of work we would have to do for the feast by ordering some of our dinner and making some of our dinner from scratch.  After much debate we settled on ordering dinner from the Q Shack in Raleigh and making some additional sides and dessert.  Our dinner included a turkey breast, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, cornbread, green beans, collards & mac n’ cheese.  To that we added brussel sprouts, my mom’s awesome sweet potatoes, and of course her pecan and cherry pies for dessert.  I also ordered some ice cream from The Parlour in two very delicious flavors, salted butter caramel and snickerdoodle, which were the perfect accompaniment to the pies.  Everything was wonderful and we were all extremely satisfied with our dinner.

After a relaxing Thursday of food and family fun, we decided to make Friday a “town” day, and while we did do some shopping we were not up at 3 AM to do so.  Our first stop was the holiday market located where the farmer’s market usually is.  They are only open for a few weekends around Thanksgiving and feature more crafts and greenery for Christmas decorating.  We wandered through what have now become familiar booths: shiitake mushroom logs, jewelry, candles, knitted items, and garlic/honey.  Mom was the only one who made any purchases, but it was interesting as always to browse and talk to the people selling their things.  After a brief visit to the pawn shop across the street from the market we headed to Antiques on Main for some shopping.  They have almost anything you could imagine and you could spend a long time wandering through the whole place.  We weren’t necessarily looking for anything specific, but ended up making a few purchases anyway.  We followed up this shopping trip by stopping at a nearby yard sale, which is actually a weekly yard sale that has become a regular stop for Dan & Debi, the gentleman that runs it even knows them by name, and once again we managed to find a few items.  We made a final stop at Wal-Mart as we usually do to get a few more supplies before heading back to the house.  After dropping mom and I at home, dad headed back in to town to go to Lowe’s to get supplies for a construction project we had planned for Saturday.

Saturday morning found dad up early as usual and out working in the woods to prepare for our project.  What is this project you may be wondering.  Well, almost since we bought the property we realized that the path we follow that makes a loop through the woods technically crosses onto the property next to us.  No one lives there now, but when they do, it may be a problem to be walking on their property.  So…we decided that we needed to build a bridge across the creek on our property to have a way to cross and continue the loop through the woods.  This is the project that dad & I undertook this weekend.  We actually started it on Friday, mapping out exactly where the path would go, dad cleared out a bunch of brush and fallen trees to make it more accessible, and we cut the 2x6s in half to make a bridge about 3 feet wide.  Saturday morning he went about setting the 4x4s in place while I was still sleeping and then I joined him for the rest of the work.  Once the 4x4s were in place and level I began nailing down each board, all 20 of them…by hand…4 nails per board.  Yes, my arms were sore the next day, and my legs from squatting down to hammer so much.  The end result looked great and we look forward to getting lots of use out of it over the years.  Of course the deer may get a lot of use out of it too, while we’re not there, but that’s ok.  A little more work needs to be done to refine the trail leading to and from the bridge, but for the most part the project is complete.

Dad making sure everything is level. (click to enlarge thumbnails)

Me nailing down boards (note, orange vest is for safety during hunting season)

The finished product!

After a morning of hard work it was time for fun and relaxation.  Dan & Debi went over to Boone for the afternoon, while mom, dad & I headed off on an adventure of our own.  I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and do some hiking, so we went to Mount Jefferson for a short hike to the tower at the top.  I was a little disappointed when we got there because the end of the trail was blocked off and we couldn’t quite go all the way to the top.  It was still nice to get out and enjoy the day and the view of the surrounding area though.

Mom & Dad after our short hike on Mt. Jefferson

On Friday I read about a new place that opened up just outside of town called the Buffalo General Store and wanted to go check it out, so after our hike we went searching for it.  It was a small building that originally housed a store a long time ago.  The new owners transformed it in to a place to buy locally made crafts and were also selling Christmas trees and greenery.  They had some really cool stuff and both mom & I ended up making some purchases.  Not surprisingly we also learned that one of the owners used to live outside Raleigh and was originally from Michigan near where my mom grew up.  It seems that we frequently run in to someone who has some connection to where we live or have lived, even in a place as small as Ashe County!

Hay Bale Rudolph outside the Buffalo General Store

Our final adventure of the weekend took us to a biker bar off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  My mom’s friends told us about it and said the food was really good.  So we made plans to all go on Saturday night for dinner and check it out.  It turns out the place is called Freeborne’s and not only do they serve food, but the have a lodge as well.  We were a bit disappointed when we pulled in the parking lot that there weren’t any motorcycles there, but it was the end of November so it was a bit chilly for motorcycle riding.  Since it is the off-season, only the bar area was open, there is a separate restaurant as well though.  There were a few people at the bar, and only a few tables to sit at, so we pulled two together and took our seats.  Once we took care of drink orders we began perusing the menu, which had quite a few choices, including one of our family favorites for an appetizer: pickle chips.  We ordered some to start with and they were quite good.  Everyone enjoyed their dinner, which for us included burgers, wings, and sandwiches.  There were lots of things that sounded good on the menu though.  Some of us saved room for dessert and were enticed by the waitress’ promise of homemade coconut cream pie, which was delicious and large enough to share with those who wanted a few bites.  We decided that we would definitely be going back in the summer, especially since it isn’t too far from the house.  After we dined there we did learn that they were featured in Our State magazine as part of their 100 foods you must eat in 100 counties story.  Since we didn’t try the recommended dish, it gives us yet another reason to go back!

Sunday arrived once again before we knew it and it was little easier leaving knowing that the clouds were rolling in and rain was coming.  We had such a good time together and had so much to be thankful for.  Stay tuned for our next adventure, hopefully coming soon after Christmas!

Look, it works!



  1. […] we were off shopping and eating, dad spent his day working outside.  You may remember from my last post that we built a bridge in the woods.  To get to the bridge you have to walk down a kind of steep […]

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